For Mental Illness Awareness Week (#MIAW) and in celebration of our staff do, we proudly introduce four diligent staff who work at a Stepping Stones Supported Apartment Complex called "River North," home for forty clients over the age of 50.
- BRAD MULLEN has worked at Stepping Stones for an impressive 23 years:
- JESSICA MEILANI for 5 years;
- ROCHELLE OWENS for 11 years; and,
- ADAM SOMMERFELD since 2018 with a brief Hiatus.
What is your job at Stepping Stones and what kind of things do you do as part of that job?
BRAD: I am a Rehabilitation Supervisor. I supervise staff, do treatment plans, provide counseling, run Community Support groups, and just be my awesome self! (For the record, Brad IS awesome! ~editor)
JESSICA: I am one of the two "South Side" Program (Case) Managers at River North. I help client understand symptoms of mental illness and build their symptom management skills. I help clients with medications, money management, many doctor appointments and day-to-day life struggles outside of mental illness management.
ROCHELLE: I am a Program (Case) Manager at River North on the "North Side." I do medication observation and training. My job includes budgeting, setting appointments, making sure medications are ordered and on site as prescribed, keeping the site clean and safe, motivating clients and providing counseling.
ADAM: I am a Rehabilitation Supervisor. I help my team deliver the best care to our clients. I also enjoy the client care myself and love to take River North clients to Walmart or in the community.
What do you like most about your job?
BRAD: My clients and staff. I also love, from day to day, how intellectually challenging and stimulating the job is
JESSICA: I truly enjoy my clients out here at River North. If you've never visited River North, you're missing out. There is never a dull moment out here!
ROCHELLE: I enjoy paper work and being able to be in the community.
ADAM: I like that when I come to work it doesn't feel like coming to work. I like being part of a team that gets the job done, but has fun in the process.
What's something that others might not know about you? What do you like to do in your free time?
BRAD: I love music (Beatles), football (Denver Broncos), history fanatic, current events/politics (once ran for office), voracious reader, enjoy writing poetry, avid nature walker, proud daddy, am a proud Christian!
JESSICA: These days I'm preparing for my first baby! It's a very exciting time for me.
ROCHELLE: My oldest and only sister has Albinism.
ADAM: My Corgi Charlie is the coolest pupper in the world.
What's a favorite stress buster?
BRAD: For me, daily nature walks are so tranquil and therapeutic – communing with nature! Embracing my family, prayer, faith, and optimism.
JESSICA: Stress buster - I'm big into reading, baths and aromatherapy. We have a diffuser in the staff office that we try to use often for ourselves and for the clients.
ADAM: Reading Horror.
What things are you doing during the pandemic to take care of mental health?
JESSICA: Some things that I currently do to keep my sanity during this pandemic for my own mental health - disconnecting from social media once in a while, especially things COVID- related. Both clients and staff at River North took a big hit with COVID, including loss of a beloved client to COVID (forever missed, James O). I know it personally affected me. I'm continuing to work on checking on those close to me.
ADAM: Trying to read, but I get distracted by any noise whatsoever.
What's something we can do to bust stigma about mental illness?
BRAD: How to bust MI stigma? Education! Community awareness. More advocacy.
JESSICA: Busting stigma about mental illness - just talking about it, raising awareness and educating others. It impacts everyone whether they like to believe it or not. I know a lot of people I converse with always say "I could never do what you do" and that's because they have a misunderstanding of the wonderful people that we serve and how much they have to offer our world.
ADAM: Advocate for those who struggle to advocate for themselves.
Pictured: Rochelle Owens, Adam Sommerfeld, Jessica Meilani, Brad Mullen